This is a reactionary post. I don’t have any deep thoughts or insights to share here but I’ve noticed a situation crop up around me and decided to explore it a bit. And because exploring unknown things is scary and dangerous, I am taking you along with me in case I need a human shield second perspective.

pheonix wright
this will make sense, perhaps…

I think that a lot of us have an anime genre we’re particularly fond of. A category of anime we consistently enjoy regardless of its flaws or general opinion. What I’ve noticed lately though, is that a lot of people seem to think that their genre of choice is somehow maligned or at least very underrated compared to the rest. Honestly, so many people I’ve talked to think others hate all the anime they love and occasionally even judge them for it.

This creates a funny situation where the person feels sort of obligated to watch and defend all anime in the chosen genre even if they really don’t feel that strongly about it deep down, just to prove a point. I’m not saying this is always the case, I’m sure there are some earnest genre protectors out there. But it happens and it’s not always pleasant.

When listening to anime fans of late, I’ve been hearing a lot of heartfelt defences of the harem genre for instance. They’re generally pretty good, the defenses that is. I enjoy reading them, but they are a bit confusing. Granted I get easily confused. So far I’ve read about 7 such posts, tweets comments in the past few months but I’ve never seen any attacking harem as a genre or even disagreeing with the defenses.

violet evergarden
they could attack at any time!

I know that I regularly publish defense posts of things that have zero need of being defended. But so far when I’ve done so, I’ve never fooled anyone into following suite. The genre defense is a trend and I wonder if it reflects what fans really think.

Sidenote, in my personal experience, Sports is the genre I’ve been told most often that people dislike but considering we still get a steady stream of offerings each season, I have to imagine somebody likes them. It also occurred to me that my anime loving friends may not be representative of the larger audience. Just because I don’t know many people who openly dislike harems (in fact know a ton that adore them) doesn’t mean they aren’t looked down on in general. This is what I decided to find out. Or getting a dim idea about.

I may not be in the majority here but when you say harem, the titles that come to my head are my beloved Steins;Gate, the hilarious KonoSuba and the raunchy NGNL , as well as more romance oriented series like Snafu and of course the mighty Bakemonogatori. These are all extremely popular and well reviewed series, which made me think the genre in general must be well regarded. Not to mention that each season seems to offer multiple options for the genre. (This same analysis cannot be applied to reverse harems sadly.). In my general observation, the harem genre is usually only out represented by the moe and occasionally ongoing shonen genres which all cater to similar demographics.

It seems that as far as studios are concerned, the genre is popular enough for production. But of course that doesn’t mean it’s well received.

the games were a trip – I need to see the anime – badly

So I figured I would do the highly scientific study of asking a bunch of strangers what they thought about it. I did a Twitter poll…and drumroll please… You guys are right. People do not like harems… I’m genuinely surprised. And confused. I know that with the great volume of harems out there some will inevitably be bad but there are also some fantastic titles in the genre. A lot in fact. Although I haven’t watched it, I’ve read great things about borderline Ecchi: How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord and that was just a run of the mill offering.

Unfortunately, the Twitter comments did not offer any guidance as to why people avoid harems. In fact the comments only talked about sports (distant second) and cgdct (almost tied with sports). And most ere – I don’t watch this but I don’t really know why. I appreciate this honesty.

So instead, let me ask you guys here. Why the Harem discrimination? We all know there are quite a few fantastic anime that fall into the category. And every single genre has its fair share of duds. Is it the uncomfortable mysogenic/borderline pedophilic tropes? That is not a sentence I ever thought I would write. In question form at that. I just got on some super exclusive watch lists I bet!

you have to take in context…

Those are perfectly reasonable um…reasons… to avoid a particular type of entertainment but let’s face it, you might as well avoid anime in general. These aren’t exactly genre exclusive. Sidenote, I know that I am one of the few people to actually watch reverse harems almost as frequently as actual harems so I can compare the two. This may be a personal issue, but I find the reverse harems depictions of women in general much more insulting. And just to be clear, I’m not insulted by either genre.

Aside from just pure curiosity though, I wanted to write this post because my own misconception of anime fan culture was a bit surprising to me. We all live in a little bubble of our own experiences that doesn’t always collide with the greater realities of the world. I observe trends and movements in the anime community from a very safe distance which at times gives me a rather partial view.

It’s good to be reminded that assumptions aren’t facts, even if they are based on objective experiences. So to sum it up, yes harems do seem to be not well respected, please let me know why! And people really do have genre prejudices, who knew!

ghost hunt anime

56 thoughts

  1. This was a weird post. I’ve actually had this saved in the form of an open tab since the day after you posted it cuz’ I was interested in the topic and haven’t gotten around to reading it till now. With that said, I find it strange the examples you give are mostly comprised of anime that definitely aren’t harem or, at least, do not focus on what makes a harem a “harem”. Stein’s;Gate which you seem to think involves most girls wanting Rintaro Okabe but there’s almost nothing to suggest that save for a few scenarios that need to be heavily contextualized to really diagnose why certain characters wanted Okabe. Ruka, for example, never had the capacity to pursue Okabe. Normally. Until… Hope you don’t mind spoilers in your comment section; very sorry if you do but it’s during the timeline where she was born female biologically that she grew feelings for him and only during that timeline and wasn’t explored any deeper. Moeka, as far as I could tell, never had any feelings. I guess you could interpret their final conversation that way, maybe. But she never showed interest beforehand and I wouldn’t say she showed interest then and there simply due to the fact that it never came up. Suzuha? I don’t believe she ever had an interest. In fact, it’s strange. I don’t even think there’s a romantic route for her in the visual novels but I could be wrong. It really seemed to suggest she didn’t take much of an interest in romantic relationships as she felt she was doing everything for the sake of a mission and the only feelings that truly poured out was ugly, disdainful feelings. Feelings of depression, hatred etc. For Faris: i’m led to believe most of her “feelings” towards Okabe aren’t real. Merely her playful attitude taking shape in the form of habit and psychological understanding. A huge part of it probably has to do with her Father complex and so she sought Okabe out as a make-do replacement for her real Father. Then we have Mayuri. Another character where it feels like the relationship status is closer to Daughter/Father than lovers though it feels more mutually agreed upon and doesn’t entirely come with negative connotations. Again, there’s just never a point where they suggest otherwise. Makise’s the only one that, honest to God, wanted to take Rintarou by the little-tarou and whip it into shape.

    Now, I’m not gonna explain, in detail, why EVERY anime on your list is not a harem but I know Konosuba isn’t harem. NGNL isn’t a harem. I can’t be certain about the rest but I have my doubts. Involving more than one woman and having them participate in a story with a male lead is not what makes the genre what it is.

    As far as why harems are bad… I mean I personally just don’t think they’re any good. Not that they couldn’t be but there’s a very clear and simple ideology behind the genre as a whole: j”ust make a show where we force a bunch of girls to love 1 guy with or without reason. Have them participate in episodic ecchi scenes whether it makes sense or not”. It’s rare for a harem to completely make sense and even in the event that it does… It doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s interesting to watch because most of these shows will have slapped on stories and generic world-building that probably doesn’t make sense either. (Infinite Stratos, Asterisk War, Maburaho etc.)

  2. I don’t HATE harems but I dislike the confusion they give people like me who R used 2 seeing 1 person with another, not a crowd and a person. If U read Stargirl, you’ll see my 1st encounter with the harem stuff and 2 tell the truth, I’ve only ever seen 1.

  3. I was going to say things about the harem genre, but then I realised that I don’t really care if a show’s a harem or not, and how strong the harem elements have to be before they take over a show. What trying to figure stuff out has made me curious about is how many queer harems there are. Mikagura Gakuen is a lesbian harem, and Gakuen Heaven is a gay harem (I think – I haven’t seen it). Is this sort of thing common in a niche?

    The only thing I pretty much avoid by default is hentai. Or I would, if you didn’t have to actively seek out hentai to be even able to watch it. I haven’t often been the situation to have to avoid them. (A couple or years back a local electronics/entertainment store tried to sell hentai anime. There were the porn disks, and then next to it were the anime disks (previously next ot children’s disks), and the border line was occupied by hentai. It was interesting leaving through shelves of anime I didn’t even know the title of (until I arrived at Bible Black…). A couple of month later, things were back to usual, and anime were once again next to kid’s section. (Talk about whiplash.) I’ve seen this OVA once… yeah, hentai is something I’d avoid if I had to.

  4. It may have its flaws, but I don’t hate the harem genre.

    Harems tend to have characters be very extreme examples of their archetype (like the tsundere being physically violent) because creators don’t want them to overlap with the rest of the cast. This often means less character development, meaning their worst traits (MC not noticing even the most obvious signs of romantic affection) get enhanced.

    But this also means the story itself may not get much development, as the creator(s) are running four, five, maybe more romance/life stories all at once, with plotlines that can’t wander too far off from the MC until the end.

  5. Wow, so much discussion going on here. I’m just gonna add a bit of my thought regarding this topic and Steins Gate that was mentioned, in particular.

    I honestly wasn’t aware of the definition of the harem genre until I searched it up after reading this post. And I personally think that Steins Gate is more of a phycological anime than to be classified as harem. The genre harem in this case, as you mentioned is simply a subgenre that does not really drive the show ( Steins;Gate ) to its success. It’s more like an added element surrounding the male protagonist, Okarin to make the story much more interesting and to smoothen the story flow with the insight of the characters and his, as well.

    So, I think the majority of the debate is about the pure harem genre that serves as the main one which I have no interest in watching. However, if it acts as a subgenre that could keep the story more interesting than it already is, then I wouldn’t mind at all.

    1. Harem is always a subgenre it defines the main interaction structure of the characters. As in multiple characters having specific and marked interest in one particular character. Often that interest is romantic. Of course you can change that definition if you like.
      I know a lot of fans are uncomfortable with calling Stiens;Gate a harem. I love it though, and as much as I adore tbe sci gi elements (i did try to build my own phone microwave name subject to change, after all), I do think Okabe’s relationships with Kurisu, Mayuri, Faris (the adaptation did her so dirty) and Ruka and rather central and very important to the emotional resonance of the plot.

      1. Ah, I see. Yeah, I enjoy Steins Gate because of the blending of science fiction elements and the interaction of Okabe with the characters as well. Anyway, it’s good to hear some of your thoughts on it.

        1. And Suzu…how could I forget Suzu….as you can see I just take any excuse to talk about this show. I probably would have included it in the sports genre if I could

  6. You note that when you think of harems, you think of shows like NGNL, SNAFU, Bakemonogatari, KonoSuba, and so forth. When I think of harems, I think of things like Koi Koi 7, Renai Boukun, Rosario x Vampire, Ladies versus Butlers!, Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun, and so forth. I think when it comes to Harem, specifically, it tends to align with what a lot of people within the ignorant majority believe anime as a whole encompasses: dirty, perverted shows of busty, idiotic women fawning over a single male (typically a loser) as a means of self-indulgency. I’ve even asked my mother about it seriously one time and that’s what she tends to think of.

    There are good shows attributed to every genre, Harem included. However, I tend to think more negatively of the genre as I feel there isn’t really much that one can do with harem that wouldn’t ultimately go against the standard of having multiple people fight over a single person. One can only develop and play around with the concept so much without breaking it, so a flood of shows simply do the bare minimum and it tends to deflate the perception of it, I think.

    And on one more note, I’d like to comment that when you put names such as Steins;Gate, SNAFU, and KonoSuba under the notable Harem anime, I found that a little surprising. I think by pure dictionary definition, they WOULD be considered harems considering the circumstances (as would Toradora!), but many could argue (as would I) that they aren’t really the type of harems that people associate with the genre, as they could make the argument that other genres are more suited for those titles (SNAFU = Satire/Romantic comedy; NGNL = Isekai/Adventure; Steins;Gate = Sci-fi/Drama). Some of the titles I listed when I think of harems are probably more in line with what people would consider harems, as they envelop more of the “harem tropes” that involve framing multiple episodes on developing one character’s relationship with the lead and the others trying to stop the progress.

    This was an interesting post, I’m glad you wrote it! You should do more reactionary stuff if it’d lead to things like this.

  7. I have genres I don’t particularly care for, and I’ll admit that harem is one of them. But even so, I’m still open-minded about watching the titles that seem interesting to me. I have genres that I love and I know other people don’t care for, and that’s perfectly okay. I’m also not above admitting the flaws or even taboo parts of those beloved genres. I can like something shady and yet still say, “Oh yeah, this is shady as fucking hell.” I never understood this desire to so intensely protect something you like by ignoring issues with it. Everything has problems that won’t be agreeable with every single person and that’s perfectly okay. Hating on people or hating on things people like just because you (generalising, not you specifically) don’t is so unnecessary and childish, to me at least. You either like the thing, or don’t like the thing. Move one. *shrugs*

    1. Heck – I like some things because they’re shady…My own personal harem is filled with questionable to downright reproachable characters….

  8. “I wanted to write this post because my own misconception of anime fan culture was a bit surprising to me. We all live in a little bubble of our own experiences that doesn’t always collide with the greater realities of the world. ”

    Isn’t this post a great way to check your perceptions? It’s really hard, even with the internet and a research librarian living with me, it’s somethings really hard to see when something I think is an assumption, a solid conclusion, or a fact.

    I’ve seen what looks to me like a bias against some genres across various media (Twitter, blogs, etc.). I’ve always assumed (and yes, I know the dangers of assumption!) that in some cases, folks feel embarrassed for liking something and try to discuss it critically while not letting anyone know they like it, whereas other folks believe that other genres are superior (though I don’t know what that means) so it’s okay to denigrate a genre they don’t like. So I’ve been reading your post’s perspective, as well as the commenters’ perspectives, with interest!

    I enjoy a harem anime if it has characters that appeal to me, has a male lead that is not blithering, and that presents a situation where the male is worth being attracted to.

    Do you remember Shuffle? Rin Tsuchimi had no idea why the other character were attracted to him, but through the series, we find out why — and every one of them had solid reasons to like him! Mix in some supernatural elements and a solidly dramatic ending, and you have a show that I really enjoyed.

    Monster Musume was another series I liked. It wasn’t as dramatically strong as Shuffle, but the male lead, Kimihito Kurusu, was a kind man who had serious cooking skills and a super power: he could take a beating! And given he was living with a Centaur, a Lamia, an Arachne, and others, that super power came in handy. I could see why they liked him, and he wasn’t a jerk about it.

    I guess maybe I’m to the point in my life where if other folks want to point at me and laugh because I like this or that, I really can’t summon the energy to care. I’d rather use that energy to seek out others who enjoyed the same show and talk to them about it.

  9. I think the issue is that while there are some shows that feature a harem or harem characteristics (like Steins;Gate) they offer a great deal more to entertain the viewer but there are a lot of harems that just go through the motions of putting guy in situation where girls suddenly surround and then fight over him and then work through the same beats as literally dozens of other shows. I think when people say they don’t like harems, they aren’t discounting every anime that has a potential harem, they are mostly against the formulaic and cliche ones that don’t seem to offer anything beyond the harem itself. And yes, some people really like the harem formula which is why they keep making it, but it is a niche audience compared to the larger anime community.
    Personally, I don’t mind watching an anime with a harem in it. But if someone told me something was an okay harem anime, I’d ask them what was interesting about that particular one before I considered watching it. Whereas, if someone tells me something is a horror anime that is okay, I’d probably just go watch it without asking for any more details (my own niche viewing preference of which I wish there were far more despite the somewhat dodgy quality of a lot within the genre).

    1. The way I see it, haem is a third tier subgenre. Comedy, Drama or Action (when tone is neutral) tend to be mother genres hat dictate tone, then you have driving thematics, Romance, Adventure, Mystery and Structural one, Slice of Life, Adventure, Epic, Coming of Age and then finally defining ones, Harem, Sports, Isekai ect…
      I think the most common line is Comedy, Romance, Harem so if you don’t like the first two it sort of turns you off the latter. But you could just as well have a Drama, Mystery, Harem that’s completely different from what you expect

  10. I have viewed, always viewed Harem Animes as absurdist comedies, in that the very nature of them being unrealistic is part of the appeal, because if you put any real logic to them, they fall apart quite easily. They would all probably end with the male lead either killing himself, or getting killed by the girls, or the girls either killing each other, or getting with each other. I find great humor in the sheer absurdity of it all, because you know it isn’t realitisic

    But I think that the reason that you are seeing a lot of defenses of the Harem genre (which I have and always will make) is that the Harem/Ecchi genre is made of paper and glass. The moment, the MOMENT anime hits the popular mainstream, Harem and Ecchi will be the first thing in the line of fire, the first thing they’ll want to “go” to try and make anime “grown up” That may sound a bit alarmist (and it might be) but I do believe that to the case.

    That’s not to say that Harem/Ecchi doesn’t have it’s problems, it’s frankly a genre with more clunkers than greats, and like Isekai, it doesn’t do as much as it can with it’s gimmick, but it is a vital and important part of Anime, like it or hate it.

    And anime titties rock.

    1. I’m not sure I completely agree. There is a lot of sexualization in mainstream media and porn hasn’t exactly disappeared yet.
      Just off the top of my head GoT comes to mind.

  11. I think in some cases people may say they dislike a certain genre publicly (for some good reasons), but privately they may be able to overlook some objections and enjoy the entertainment anyway. For me, I have my qualms about harem series due to the typical gender and power dynamics involved, and those are things I typically discuss while reviewing anime because they’re important to talk about. But I’ve also watched and enjoyed anime that’s informed by the harem genre and I’d even argue that it’s a concept so intertwined in the anime medium that one would have a hard time avoiding it completely. I think when people say they don’t like [insert genre here] it’s often more complicated than just a binary reaction – it’s just difficult to express that in a short time or when the conversation involves a lot of passionate feelings and opinions 🙂

    1. As someone whose written countless times on the illusion of genre as a concept, I would tend to agree with you. But it’s still an important shorthand and it’s interesting to me to try and ferret out the actual drive behind trends.

  12. Also I think it is important to state that I think people forget that there can be a subgenre. It can be a comedy with a subgenre of harem. Like Konosuba.

  13. haha I just wrote a post about harems. The few that slipped through and why I liked them compared to others.
    For me it is all about the main character. I need to believe that the mc would have all these people love/follow him/her. That really tends to be the breaking point. When girl/boy two or three started to blush and join and the mc is still a potato I just can’t buy it.
    Some harems are also ruined by too much fanservice. I really like the story line of High School of the Dead and the characters but man… if I had to see the teachers breasts bouncing around anymore I would lose it.

    1. Bouncy breasts remind me of forgetting to wear a bra to gym class and cringing in pain for the next three days….

  14. Shows like Konosuba and Monogatari aren’t really harems, they’re more like shows from other genres that have harem elements. If you say “harem” to an anime fan without any context, the type of show they’ll normally picture with that word is a comedy like Love Hina, which is basically the ur-example/trope codifier of the modern harem. This is the type of show where circumstances throw the protagonist together with multiple beautiful girls, all of whom are either in love with him or will be before the story’s over, and madcap slapstick hijinks ensue as the girls battle each other to win his heart, and battle even harder just to get his attention, because said protagonist is always either a) thick as a brick and never picks up the hints that these girls like him, or b) he pretends not to notice because he’s still holding out for the girl he made a childhood promise to years ago (inevitably, of course, she’s already in his harem and he just doesn’t recognize her).

    I’ve never been a big fan of harems, but I don’t go out of my way to avoid them either, and every so often I run into a good one. I really enjoyed The Quintessential Quintuplets last season, for instance, which is a classic harem story but one that’s executed extremely well. It also helps that QQ opens with a flash-forward revealing right away that the MC WILL marry one of the girls (without revealing which one, of course), because that immediately scuttles one of the most common complaints people have about harem stories, the complete and utter lack of any meaningful romantic plot progression (many harems are deliberately left with open endings so as not to upset fans of the losing girls).

    1. I remember liking love hina although I don’t in fact remember much about it.
      I know I’m not a real anime fan but I revert back to the VN adaptations personally.

  15. I can’t say I dislike harem anime because I genuinely don’t think I’ve ever watched one. I can say that harem anime, (much like Isekai anime), don’t appeal to me. Between the Dimensional self insert male leads I typically see, the same garden variety of women being depicted…. it’s not for me. And that’s fine. Not every genre of anime, or even most genres of anime, appeal to me. I’ve watched a fair amount of reverse harem and honestly, it’s about the same if not worse then how I perceive regular harem anime. I 100% agree that making a female protagonist barely above self-insert is just… not worth the effort to animate but I digress.

    It’s easier for me to watch reverse harem, I guess this where I admit I’m sexist or something but I’m not sure. Pretty boys appeal to me, sometimes pretty girls do too being honest. Where it falls off the rails is that I get real grossed out when I find out the plot for a group of girls and one dude then a group of guys and one girl.

    I feel like reverse harem fans don’t feel the need to defend themselves so strongly. We know our genre is perceived as “trash” since it’s aimed towards women sexualizing men. (typically) It’s easier to ignore the usual arguments (this is unrealistic for men, this is just the women’s version of series X). Since women get flack for liking just about anything so who cares? Not me, I say as I just finish the second season of B-Project.

    I feel like anyone who has a “persecution complex” are the same people who think anime is selling out by mainstream, still uses words like “plebs” to describe new fans, and spend a bit too much time online reacting, verses getting out in the world and talking to real people. That might just be me projecting though lol.

    Certainly, a very intersting thought and a lot of important points to consider.

    1. They’re really the exact same basic premise except that female characters in reverse harems are often completely dispensable to the storyline… I’m lookin’ at you UtaPri

  16. I just hate that Harem anime is basically designed to look at a group of women solely through their relationships with a single man. There are a lot of shows I like that are basically Harem anime minus the dude such as Zombie Land Saga. I’m kind of a hypocrite, though, because I really like Rosario + Vampire (one of the worst offenders).

    1. I’ve seen some harem where the women had independent and full storylines. It’s not the norm, granted

  17. I think that people often fall into an opinion, they probably watched one ecchi or harem series with lots of fan-service, and refuse to budge on it. I knew I guy that refused to watch anything science fiction and it got to the point that he would just dismiss any argument for it. For me, High School DxD is the first thing I think of when someone mentions harem. I can see why people would dismiss the entire genre because of it, although I doubt they’ve actually seen enough of it to realize there is a very compelling story.

    I think it’s viewed as a gateway to hentai. If you like harem, then what’s stopping you from going all the way. There’s nothing wrong with any of those things either. I think people still get quite uptight about sex and nudity but have no problem with gore and violence. I grew up in Europe so I see it the other way around (as it should be😉).

  18. The harem anime that people hate are anime such as my behated series, such as Baka no Test, where MC is a legitimately annoying, one-dimensional, self-insert dumbass who has a dozen girls like him because “he was nice to me once”.

    Other times, it just goes ON and ON, annoyingly stalling progress for no good reason with convoluted BS, ie, Nisekoi to the nth degree.

    THAT I can’t stand.

    However, GOOD harem such as Gotoubun no Hanoyame, and arguably, Clannad, exist because it’s got a LOT of other things helping it along besides fanservice and power fantasies.

    1. My favourite genre is psychological thriller and oh boy is there a lot of trash in that field… Just because there are bad examples doesn’t discredit an entire general category of storylines.

      1. Exactly!

        Same with anime as a whole. People who dislike anime tend to view anime through the lens of “all anime is like Naruto or Nisekoi” because that’s what they are exposed to.

        Unfortunate but true 🙁

  19. Online, in comment sections on a variety of streaming sites, what I mostly see are people who don’t like tradtional harem genre because the main male lead never “get enough action.” He doesn’t do it with the girls. These are the same guys who love ecchi and usually will admit to a bit of hentai. They like to see a lot of sexuality in anime, and often, harem shows have characters who don’t try to “do it” with any of the girls.

    I don’t share their opinions, fyi. I’m not the biggest fan of harem or ecchi because I think they’re usually boring or predictable, and it’s not my style of humor.

    As for my biases, I definitely like dark and edgy shows or vague psychological shows. It does sometimes seem to me like others in the anime community don’t like those shows. But I’m well aware that my perspective might be off. Plus, I don’t judge people who watch and love more “mainstream” anime. I like some of that too. I mean, who seriously doesn’t like One Piece? Or Steins;Gate? Or even MHA?

    1. A lot of people actually. I don’t really know what’s mainstream right now Promised Neverland I think – I really liked it!

  20. i think the point of assumptions not being facts is important, and i wouldnt be surprised about a persecution complex when it comes to genres. my thought is that it’s always dangerous to make these assumptions just because of how different any given person’s sphere of perception is.

    to give my personal example, ive seen countless posts about how the “subs vs. dubs” argument is raging on and ruining anime discussion, and yet ive never actually had or seen the subs vs. dubs argument in the past 5 or so years. but i would never say the subs vs dubs argument “is dead” or “doesn’t exist anymore”, because i dont know what happens in other parts of the internet.

    this is the reason i tend to avoid these kinds of “defense” posts, as they imply a problem that could just be a result of my own personal biases. maybe i see a systemic problem because of confirmation. maybe ive gravitated towards discussion about this topic and larger group discussions tend to be more negative. it’s hard to say.

    im not sure if it’s what you’re going for, but “persecution complex” really does encapsulate how i view these kinds of reactions. it could just be my cynical view of the world, but i tend to see these kinds of defensive posts or tweets, and i end up feeling like the author is somewhat playing the victim in order to garner sympathy. as someone who wants his points to stand on their own merits, it’s hard for me to accept that approach.

    1. I know that a lot of fans feel like their favourite genre is underrepresented or unappreciated and if I put all of these comments together – it would seem like no anime genre is liked. I remember a few years ago I was seeing these exact same posts about Slice of Life. Last year it was CGDCT. Everyone thinks that people look down on shonen, ect…

      1. yeah, that wouldnt surprise me, but it’s very easy to pick up on these kinds of things if you’re sensitive to them. confirmation bias is strong.

        i mean, i have my biases and there are certain shows that i tend to avoid, but the genre has become such a broad set of categories that it almost doesnt seem worth talking about.

        1. I would agree if I hadn’t just written a post about it…. but secretly I do agree – don’t tell anyone

  21. I think a lot of people conflate ‘harem’ with ‘ecchi’ and that’s where it gets its “negative” connotations. I love harem but even I don’t consider ‘Steins;Gate’ or ‘Konosuba’ to be harem anime in my mind which is probably an additional reason why people don’t see them as positive because the “positive” examples of them hide their harem nature under other genres like ‘sci-fi’ or ‘fantasy’.

    1. I wouldn’t say they hide their genre. Most animes have more than one genre… And Steins;Gate is 4/5 pretty girls actively in chasing after one clueless guy…
      This said, I’m not sure why ecchi has a bad reputation either?

  22. Personally, I wouldn’t consider any of the anime you listed as harem anime. Even if they may have multiple love interests, I don’t see that as their defining aspect. To me, Steins Gate is a psychological / thriller anime. Konosuba is a comedy. Bakemonogatari is an abstract mystery anime. SNAFU is a slice of life / school drama. Higurashi is a psychological… mystery? anime. All great anime, but harem is not what comes to mind when I think of them.

    What I DO think of is anime like Rosario to Vampire, Highschool DxD, To Love Ru, Maken-ki… anime that make it clear and obvious that there are multiple girls throwing themselves at an often clueless protagonist who somehow manages to get into awkward situations with them.

    If multiple love interests constitutes a harem anime, then you’re technically correct that the genre gets a bad wrap. It probably does anyways. But if other people think of the same type of anime that I do when they hear “harem anime”, then I think it’s fair as to why people tend to dislike harem anime.

    1. “anime that make it clear and obvious that there are multiple girls throwing themselves at an often clueless protagonist who somehow manages to get into awkward situations with them.”
      So what you’re saying is, it’s Neon Genesis Evangelion. Shinji even had his mentor character making out with him out of the blue mid battle…
      This said, S;G, Konosuba, SNAFU… are all anime specifically categorised as harem on many aggregator sites. I know it’s not a super accurate way to gauge general perception but it was the easiest for me.
      From what I can tell, you seem to chose titles that are more echhi like NGNL or the Higurashi games. (I take it the anime cleaned up the storylines…) And that seems to be a trend as well, to specifically associate both genres. Mind you, there are a ton of ecchi CGDCT as well.

      1. Yeah, technically you’re probably completely right about those anime being harem anime by some definition. I’m just saying I don’t think those are the type of anime that come to mind for people when they immediately say “I don’t like harem anime”, because if Steins Gate was the first anime to come to mind, that whole reaction probably wouldn’t happen nearly as much as it does.
        Also, if an anime like SNAFU is harem, then I don’t see why Evangelion couldn’t be loosely considered one also.
        I haven’t played the Higurashi games, so I don’t really know on that specific one… maybe it is more “harem” than I realized..!

        1. Eva is clearly written with harem tropes in mind. If I remember correctly the author did state it in an interview. Both S;G and Higurashi are very interesting games with fantastic rich and detailed storylines that have strong romantic subplots with all the female characters.

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